Improving Response to Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Pre-Hospital EMS lg

Coordinating, training and promoting best practices in the EMS community

In 2010, the American Heart Association updated it's Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care for SCA victims. They include:

  • Improving the recognition of SCA by 911 call takers and urging 911 call takers to instruct callers to begin chest compressions while awaiting EMS arrival.
  • Providing high-quality CPR with minimal interruptions in chest compressions and with controlled ventilations.  Beginning CPR with compressions rather than ventilations (C-A-B instead of A-B-C) to emphasize the primary importance of chest compressions and to decrease barriers to starting CPR.
  • Establishing OHCA Systems of Care - including linking with community AED programs, coordinating with receiving hospitals to optimize post-cardiac arrest care, and measuring survival to hospital discharge.
  • Implementing quantitative waveform capnography for intubated patients to monitor endotracheal tube placement and the quality of the resuscitation.
  • Working as a team during resuscitation with defined roles and clear communication

For more information on the important role EMS plays in SCA response, check out the Prehospital Response section of the HeartRescue Community Response Guide.
PDF File Download Guide (PDF, 7.83 MB)

Sharing Best Practices

Improving EMS system factors can increase outcomes of SCA. These factors include: 

  • CPR
    • Time to CPR
    • Dispatcher-assisted telephone CPR
    • Recognition of agonal breathing
    • High-performance resuscitation by EMS
    • Community CPR training
  • Defibrillation
    • Time to defibrillation
    • Rapid dispatch
    • Community PAD
    • Police defibrillation

Prehospital Response

Community SCA Response Guide

Learn About Our Partners

Heart Rescue Partners University of ArizonaDuke UniversityUniversity of IllinoisUniversity of MinnesotaAMR MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaUniversity of Washington